From an article sent to Coal Age June 4, 1912
By: George Harrison
"The family register records that I was born at Greenhead, Northumnberland County, England, April 30, 1846. While I was, no doubt, present at the event, my memory is not sufficiently retentive to affirm or deny the correctness of the family records. Besides it is of too small importance to the people of the country to necessitate the distinguished president and popular ex-president of the nation to deposit their hats and don gloves to decide the question in the roped area by the manly art of self defense.
On account of the ill health of my father, caused by inhaling the deadly carbonic acid gas (black damp) and other impurities in the mine, it was necessary that I go to work in the mine at the age of seven years and eight months. It was hoped that my father would soon recover and I would have the opportunity of receiving, at least, the first rudiments of a common school education, but after a lingering illness of suffering and agony, my mother and six children stood over the bed side of a loving and dutiful husband, tender and affectionate father, and saw the cruel demon of the mines complete his dastardly work and saw the poor victim clutch at his breast, and, with his last breath, beg piteously to remove the chunk of lead from his breast so he could breathe.
With one sister older, two younger, two brothers younger than myself and a widowed mother, the die was cast against me, a duty to my mother, sisters and brothers doomed my chances for education.
At that time boys were compelled to work twelve hours and far oftener fourteen or fifteen hours between leaving home in the morning and returning at night, never seeing daylight except on Sunday the great part of the year. My mother was a good seamstress and worked nearly day and night to maintain the family. At night she gave me all the assistance should could in the way of education. To her I was wholly indebted for all the assistance I ever got.
At sixteen years of age, the family move to Leadgate, County of Durham, and I commenced to mine coal and do a man's work at any work in the mine. It was always my ambition to be thoroughly practical and expert at all kinds of work. The experience in my father's death was never forgotten and my hatred for tampering with ventilation in a mine or deceiving the miners in regard to it, by improper and dangerous illuminants always aroused my anger and destination, and reminds me of my dear father's suffering and death at early middle age, as well as that of many similar cases caused by bad ventilation and worse than no government inspection of the mines.
Until 1872 the miners were required to sine a bond binding them to the same mine for one year; the miners being induced by a promise of preference of work for signing away their liberty and many were brought back and sent to prison if they deserted, Thank God I never had anything to do with the yearly bond, only to join the advocates of its abolition, which was the first complete mining enacted by the British Parliament.
I landed in Cambridge, Gurnsey County, this state (Ohio), April 29, 1880 and my wife came after me, four months later, with five girls and two boys, all under twelve years of age. By the way, I often tell her, a woman that would cross the Atlantic under those circumstances, with such a charge, after am man, there is no fear of her ever wanting a divorce. Ou family was increased by the addition of four daughters; seven daughters and two sons living, all of whom are married except two daughters who art at home and my wife has not named a divorce yet.
In this state I have spent nearly seven years as a practical miner, all the time actively connected with the miner's union, nearly eighteen years in the management of mines and eight years as Chief Inspector of Mines (State of Ohio))"
George Harrison died in Caldwell, Noble County, Ohio 7/14/1913, Volume Number:1132 Certificate Number:42225
Newspaper obituary: Thursday, July 17, 1913 - newspaper unknown
Suffered Fourth Stroke of Paralysis, Monday, at Daughter's Home in Caldwell
Was National Authority
So well versed in mining matters he was appointed by four governors.
George Haarrison , former state mine inspector, died Monday night at the home of his daughter at Caldwell, Noble County, after an illness of nearly a year. He was attacked by paralysis last fall, and never recovered. He served as mine inspector during the Herrick, Pattson and Harris administration. He succeeded in securing the enactment of a new mining code of laws.
Was Valuable Man.
Mr. Harrison filled every position from trapper mine boy to superintendent and mine manager. He was appointed state mine inspector by former Governor Harrick on May 25, 1904, and his services as the head of that department were so valuable that he was retained in office by the next three governors.
Mr. Harrison was born in Greenhead, Northumberland County, England, April 30, 1846, and so was in his 68th year at his death. He came to this country in 1880, locating at Byesville, Gurnsey county and from there he went to Wellston, where he was superintendent of Wainwright mine. He was formerly active in the United Mine Workers' union, having been president of the Cambridge district. He also served as state organizer for the miners and was a member of their state executive board.
Noted for Integrity.
Mr. Harrison was noted for his integrity. He was president of the national organization formed by state mine inspectors and their deputies for the betterment of mining conditions, serving three consecutive terms as such. He declined to accept a fourth term. He was regarded as a national authority on mining questions.
He is survived by a widow and nine children. There are two deceased daughters. The surviving children are: William Harrison, Jackson; John Harrison, Caldwell; Mrs. Bert Matheney, Belle Valley; Mrs. Frank Millhorn, Harpersville; Mrs. Robert Rose, Athens; Mrs. Walter Leach, Caldwell; Mrs. William Patterson; Coalton; Mrs. Benjamin C. Heber, Columbus, and Miss.. Anna Harrison, Caldwell
Mr. Harrison moved from Columbus to Caldwell on February 10 last. He sustained four strokes of paralysis. The first occurred in June, 1910, while he was at Chicago, Ill. The second was in June of last year, when fell from a streetcar at the Union station. He suffered a third stoke on October 26, 1912. The fourth caused his death last Monday.
His funeral will be held at Byesville Sunday afternoon.
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